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Fluorocarbon Surf Fishing Leaders VS Monofilament


Is fluorocarbon really worth the extra money for surf fishing leaders? I think the advantages are worth it and I’ll tell you why.

Although it looks the same as monofilament it’s actually very different in several ways. The first question that comes to mind besides looks is the price difference.

The Price Difference Shouldn’t Be A Factor

Fluorocarbon leader material is in the neighborhood of 7 times more expensive than mono. Although that sounds like a lot, that only amounts to about 50 cents per leader. If a fish breaks me off I’m more concerned about the cost of my pyramid sinker than the leader material.

It Doesn’t Matter That Fluorocarbon Is Nearly Invisible In The Water

The reason that fluorocarbon is nearly invisible in the water is because it has nearly the same refractive index as water. The result is it doesn’t appreciably distort light passing through it.

As far as I’m concerned near invisibility should only be a consideration if you are fishing in very clear water. For the most part, even in clear water I don’t think it makes a big enough difference to be concerned about it.

If you’re fishing a lure the fish is focused on the action of the lure. If you’re fishing bait the fish is focused on the scent. The hooks are pretty much visible anyway. So why is the line visibility a significnt factor?

The Performance Characteristics Make The Most Difference

I’m sure you heard that Fluorocarbon is more abrasion resistant. It is, and that’s because it’s much harder than mono. I tried to look up the difference but was unsuccessful.

What I can tell you is purely from experience. Fluorocarbon doesn’t seem to get nicked up as quickly as the mono. In the process of using it and working with it, you will get a sense of it’s durability. It just seems tougher. Not only that but if you are making your own leaders you’ll notice it’s much stiffer to work with.

One of the downfalls of monofilament is how quickly it breaks down and looses strength. This is huge when it comes to surf fishing. Can you afford to loose a prize catch or any catch over 50 cents worth of leader material. I think not. Anytime a fish breaks you off it’s a big disappointment.

One of the reasons that mono breaks down is because it has very poor UV resistance. Fluorocarbon on the other hand is virtually unaffected by UV exposure.

Now this next characteristic is something that you may not ever have heard about. Fluorocarbon leader material is waterproof whereas monofilament absorbs water. Monofilament absorbs water continually while it’s in the water. This weaken it and contributes to unexpected break offs.

Previously I pointed out that Fluorocarbon is harder and stiffer than Mono. Anglers like it because it’s more sensitive than mono and it’s easier to feel the bite when used in conjunction with braid main line.

Anglers are also under the impression that it doesn’t stretch. Actually it stretches more than mono. The reason why you don’t realize it is because it takes a lot more force to cause it to stretch.

One Last Precaution

I hope by now I’ve convinced you that fluorocarbon leader material is worth the extra cost over monofilament. There two characteristics that you should be aware of though.

When rigging and tying knots it’s very important to get that knot cinched down tightly or it will loosen and possibly fail. The other characteristic that you should know is that it has more memory than mono which is why I keep my rigs stored  straight on a piece of PVC rather than coiled in my tackle box.

I hope this info was helpful and as always comments are appreciated.

8 Responses to Fluorocarbon Surf Fishing Leaders VS Monofilament

  • 06.11.15
    Hi Randy
    Every thing is perfect, everything is fine with the fluorocarbon. The performance & characteristic what you have mentioned is absolutely 100% bang on generally. No doubt at all.

    But unless & otherwise the fisherman is a hard core or a die hard regular fisherman, the expense is worth it & the fluorocarbon is a must.

    Since the fluorocarbon line so diabolically, astronomically & atrociously expensive & lot of anglers will think about buying the leader line.

    Lot of good anglers had, have & still having good to very good results each time they chuck the bait out there in the water. In my personal point of view, I wish to point out that how people came to know that the fish cannot see or visualize the Fluorocarbon line?….. A million $ question.

  • Tks randy, yr artical was of great help i never knew that fluoro has more memory and kept the rigs in the box coiled up, hence in future will keep in a plastic pvc pipe, cant keep them loose hanging either as my dogs will go for it.

  • Great article. I fish mono on my surf rods but tie my single and double drop terminal rigs with fluoro along with black swivels, if I use swivels at all. I have experienced better results particularly if “pan” fish such as spots are running. Double catches are more frequent.

  • Hi Randy, it all makes sense to me, and knowing these other qualities of fluorocarbon will help in my defense against the hardliners who say I’m just wasting my money. Thanks.

  • hi

    thanks for the infor and keep it coming

    fluorocarbon is keeping up with technology and innovations for the future

    I cant see why people are reluctant to move with the times

    kind regards

  • I always used 20# fluoro as a leader on ALL my gear with 35# braid. Fishing where there is vegetation can abrade braid fluoro is definitely less likely to abrade and break. It’s not always the breaking strength that is important. Thanks for the article, Randy.

  • wHATS’ THE DIFFERECE IN COST using Floral carbon

    • Tom a fluorocarbon leader for surf fishing might cost you $0.50 whereas a mono leader is probably less than a dime. It’s not the cost difference that’s important. It’s whether you believe the benefits are worth the cost. I personally believe for $0.50 it’s worth it to me. I hope that answers your question.